FOUR major conservation bodies today joined forces to fight Government proposals to make fundamental changes to the planning system which, they say, will take major planning decisions out of the hands of local councils.
The four, which describe the proposed changes as "disastrous," are the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Transport 2000 and Restore UK, which hopes to increase investment in Britain's natural environment.
The Government plans to switch major planning decisions like new airport runways or motorway extensions to regional bodies like Yorkshire Forward, although local people will be given the right to object to smaller local schemes.
Says CPRE Director Kate Parminter: "Good planning is the unsung hero of environmental protection. It's where local people can have their say about the future of their environment.
"These proposals represent a further weakening of local democracy. They would erode public trust in the planning system."